Last week, I took my first non-work week off in over a year - and it was definitely overdue. On arriving at our hotel in Reykjavik, I napped for four hours, woke up at dinnertime, then slept for 12 hours. Although I marveled at the time I slept, my Mum said it was because I always occupy myself with work, so I never notice when I’m tired. And Mums have a habit of being right.
Iceland is a beautiful country. We did the Golden Circle Tour - Pingvellir National Park, the Gullfoss waterfall and Geysir. We did a Northern Lights tour but alas, they didn’t really appear.
And my favourite thing: we did The Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa situated in a lava field in Gindavik, about an hour’s drive from the capital. There’s something very surreal about sitting in a misty lagoon that’s about 37 degrees when it’s about 0 degrees out of the water.
Two of my least favourite things are organised group activities and coaches (or buses to you north Americans). I don’t drive, and the icy conditions would’ve been a challenge to even the most experienced drivers. But the local guides provided such animated commentary for the entire duration of each tour - sometimes up to six hours. That said, this isn’t surprising when one considers that, because of their storytelling culture, ten percent of Iceland’s tiny 324,000 population will publish a book at some point in their lives.
Despite so many new experiences (and the potential for many more), the parts of my holiday I cherished are the things that I no longer do daily: sleeping for longer than five hours at a time, eating breakfast - and taking longer than twenty minutes to do it; sitting down to dinner when it’s not an event or an occasion. I kept screen use to a minimum, brought my Kindle for books and went to two movies (in English subtitled in Icelandic). And took full advantage of the hotel bar for nightly nightcaps.
When you’re not working, travel is an easy way to have a slew of new experiences to recharge the tank. Although everything is ridiculously expensive, I recommend Iceland in the winter, especially before tourism overtakes fishing as their main industry. They freely admit that a service culture is new to them but Icelanders are grateful for the boost to their economy and are eager to share their culture.
And although it seems like a no-brainer, I generally recommend taking a holiday. I already have my next one booked for March.